The Pumpkin Fruit Drop: Why do I drop my pumpkins?

Why do my pumpkins keep falling off the vine? Falling off the pumpkin is a frustrating situation and it is not always easy to determine the cause of the problem, as there can be many things to blame. Read on to find out the causes of pumpkin fruit fall.

Reasons for the fall of pumpkin fruit

Pollination problems

Poor pollination is probably the most common reason why pumpkins fall off the vine, as the time window for pollination is very narrow – about four to six hours. If pollination does not take place during this time, the flowers will close forever, never to be pollinated. To avoid this problem, remove a male flower and rub the stamen directly on the female flower. This should be done early in the morning.

How to make a difference? Male flowers usually appear one or two weeks before the female flowers – usually at a rate of two or three male flowers for each female flower. The pollen, which is on the central stamen, will fall off your fingers if the male flower is mature enough to pollinate the female. The female flower is easy to detect thanks to the small round fruits that appear at the base of the flower.

If the small fruit starts to grow, you know that pollination has succeeded. On the other hand, without pollination, the small fruit withers quickly and falls off the vine.

Problems with fertilizers

Although nitrogen is useful in the early stages of plant growth, too much nitrogen later can endanger baby pumpkins. Reducing the nitrogen will cause the plant to direct its energy to producing fruit rather than foliage.

A balanced fertilizer is suitable for planting, but once the plant is established and flowers appear, apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer with a NPK ratio such as 0-20-20, 8-24-24 or 5-15-15. (The first number, N, represents nitrogen)


Excessive humidity or high temperatures can create stress that can cause pumpkin fruit to fall off. Not much can be done about the climate, but good fertilization and regular watering can make the plants more resistant to stress. A layer of mulch will help keep the roots moist and fresh.

Flower tip

This problem, which starts with a water stain at the end of the small pumpkin flower, is due to a lack of calcium. Eventually, the pumpkin may fall off the plant. There are several ways to avoid this problem.

Again, avoid fertilizers with high nitrogen content that can fix calcium in the soil. Keep the soil uniformly moist, watering at the base of the soil if possible to keep the foliage dry. A soaking hose or drip irrigation system will make this easier. You may need to treat plants with a commercial calcium solution formulated for terminal flower rot. However, this is usually only a temporary solution.

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